The rules were simple in Cary Grant's day. A gentleman should open doors for a lady, walk to the street-side of a sidewalk and always pull out a chair at the dinner table. And when the napkins hit the table he should be ready to pounce on the check when it comes.
But over the past few decades, the art of chivalry has gotten a little more complicated, as social etiquette has generally relaxed and as women have secured equality in other facets of life. That a man should open a door is still pretty straightforward (certainly some traditions should remain intact), but matters of finance regarding dinner bills have become a little more complicated.
Should a man always pay on a date? Should he pay for the first few dates, and then book a table at a lavish restaurant and excuse himself to the bathroom when that bill comes? What if the woman makes more than he does? What if she makes twice as much?
It's easy to reason that the rules should shift when it comes to deciding who pays, but a study carried out be the American Sociological Association shows we're still old fashioned when it comes to the slip.
Most men and women reported that men pay for more expenses, even after dating a while, according to the study. And while more than half of women say they offer to pay the tab, 39 percent secretly wish their offer would be rejected.
Are dudes getting fed up? Almost half said they would quit dating a woman who never pays, but the majority of men say they feel guilty when accepting a woman's money, making it seem like women are damned if they do pull out the plastic and damned if they don't.
There is some indication of change, according to the study. Respondents in their 20s were more likely to take an equitable view on dinner expenses, indicating that gender roles with respect to dining checks could be a lot more straightforward in decades to come. Of course they'll be eating Google Nutrition Pellets and paying by stare, but it will be equal, dammit.